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Trademark Law

T-shirt Maker Wins Wal-Mart Legal Battle

Posted Mar 26, 2008 10:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge has sided with a T-shirt maker in a trademark battle with Wal-Mart.

U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. has ruled that T-shirts and other paraphernalia with anti-Wal-Mart slogans are protected as parodies, according to the Fulton County Daily Report.

Charles Smith’s T-shirts carried slogans such as "Wal-ocaust" and "Wal-Qaeda," according to the story. His market is limited: He has sold only 62 T-shirts, including 15 to one of Wal-Mart's outside law firms.

Batten said in his opinion (PDF) that Smith’s goal was criticism rather than profit and his products are protected noncommercial speech. Smith thinks Wal-Mart is taking over the world.


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